The Library of Congress > National Jukebox > Playlists of Recordings > Songs by George M. Cohan


  • Playlist Creator: Library of Congress
  • Date Playlist Created: 05/04/2011
  • George M. Cohan wrote, composed, directed and acted in his own plays and was famous for his star-spangled patriotic tunes. But he also wrote in other styles—always simple, elegant and undeniably American. Many of his lesser-known works contained a wry cynicism and dry, semi-cantankerous manner. Cohan himself appeared only on a handful of records. The tenor Billy Murray gave voice to Cohan’s songs in recordings of “You’re a grand old rag” (later retitled to “You’re a grand old flag,”) “The Yankee doodle boy,” and “Harrigan.” Cohan’s music captured a strong sense of what was termed “American Spirit,” with optimism flowing through his lyrics, bursting from his jaunty melodies.
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The National Jukebox is a project of the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. The goal of the Jukebox is to present to the widest audience possible early commercial sound recordings, offering a broad range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning.

These selections are presented as part of the record of the past. They are historical documents which reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these recordings, which may contain content offensive to users.